Did Muslims play a role in the founding of the country? Here's what David Barton found...

Has Islam been woven into the fabric of the country since it was founded? That's what President Obama tried to say in a conference on countering violent extremism. Glenn couldn't believe it, so he invited the expert on the Founders: David Barton.

 

Read the rush transcript below:

GLENN: We heard from the president yesterday that from the very beginning of our country, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our nation. The founders were, of course, huge.

PAT: Oh, my gosh. All of them were --

GLENN: Fifty-two of the 56 signers --

PAT: Like 19 were Muslim clerics. And 52 were full-on Muslim.

GLENN: Yeah. David Barton is here to fill us with his no-they-weren't-all-Muslim lies. Welcome to the program, David.

DAVID: Hey, guys. So glad we're going to talk. This is great.

GLENN: So when you heard the president say yesterday that from the very foundation of our nation, Islam has been critical and integral to our founding and our nation, what were your thoughts?

DAVID: Oh, I just expected it. I laughed. It was really pretty ridiculous. I have since then actually tried -- because in all the reading I've done, you know, thousands of books, there's nothing there. You and I know some of the stuff that's out there, I mean, we know that Muslims were the folks who captured the slaves sent to America largely out of Africa. The Dutch would hall anything they were given. They were traders. The Muslims who did the slave hunting and the slave trading, et cetera. The first Muslims came to America as a result of the Muslims capturing them and sending them to the Dutch traders. We know beyond that we had a 32-year war with Muslims. At first American edition of the Koran, the editors said, you guys have to read this. This is crazy stuff. You'll understand why we've had 32 years of war with these nuts. I mean, those exactly are contributions that would jump to mind. That's about all you can point to back then. So I spent a little bit of time to look up.

If you go to a website called Islam101.com and look at the contribution of Islams to America. I'm telling you, bro, we're really sparse here. 1732. Here's a contribution of a Muslim to America. 1732, a Muslim is set free by James Oglethorpe, who is the founder of Georgia. He's set free and given passage to England. That's what they consider a contribution to America.

1790. It says, well, Muslims are known to be living in Florida. Oh, yeah, that's a Spanish possession of Florida. And Moorish Muslims occupied Spain, so no surprise there.

Then, 1807, it says a Muslim is set free. He buys shares in a bank. Now, we have someone who actually bought stock in America.

PAT: Now, you're talking -- this is really woven into the fabric.

GLENN: When was the stock purchase?

DAVID: 1807.

GLENN: Okay.

DAVID: I have two more for you. Here's another one. In 1828, the governor of South Carolina, soon to be governor, John Owen, actually visited a Muslim in jail and took him to his plantation. That's another Muslim contribution. Add it to the governor. Here's what I love. This is actually kind of fun.

In 1856, the American military is engaged in all sorts of Indian wars in western lands. They're trying innovative new things, and the secretary of war at that time was Jefferson Davis. Five years later, he would become part of the secession and the president of the Confederacy. But at that time, he's secretary of war. What they did was they hired a Muslim to raise camels in Arizona because the cavalry said, you know, instead of using horses across the desert, let's try these camels. So across the southern part of the country, across Arizona and Mexico, Texas, the cavalry actually used camels at that point in time. So they hired a Muslim to raise camels. That's a contribution of Muslims to America.

GLENN: This is the fabric. I mean, it's practical the whole blanket.

PAT: Yeah. Well, so we were confused because the story of Jefferson's Koran, Salon.com says he had that 16 years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

GLENN: And we had always heard, David, that he had asked, who are these Muslims, what do they want? That's when somebody said you have to read the Koran. And he said, can you get me a copy? And he sent over to England for a copy. Which is true?

DAVID: Well, some of both. I mean, he was particularly interested in it. Once he had the idea of, know your enemy. I mean, who are these guys? Because he's one of the first three American diplomats to have to negotiate with Muslim terrorists. So he was really interested at that point. But like most other people in that day, they read most -- from a politics standpoint, you want to know what other people believe so you can argue your own case. So it was not unusual at all to be familiar with the writings of Muslims, to be familiar with the writings of Hindus or others. They studied other religions. If you want to -- they had comparative religions. And that helped them better know what they believed about their own faith and how to talk to those of other faiths. So that's not at all incompatible with Jefferson or that day.

Now, the real interest came when he had to start negotiating with them, and now I have to take this stuff a lot more seriously. It was an academic inquiry before, but now this is a policy matter now. So it's really some of both that goes with it. It's a 1746 copy of the Koran that he got from London.

So that's much earlier. But at the same time it was one of those apologetic things that you learned in academics back then. Part of what they did.

GLENN: And he was just very far ahead in looking in all religions. If the Dalai Lama had been around at the time, he would have had dinner with the Dalai Lama, and he wouldn't have brought him behind the house with the Dumpster.

DAVID: It was not unusual. That was very much an academic practice back then. Academics looked at other religions, other faiths, other countries, other beliefs, and they talked about that, even in the Constitution. We've looked at every other republic that's out there to see how their government works so we know what works and what doesn't. So you have these guys writing about Muslims early on because they want to know what people believe and what it did to their culture their practice, their behavior, et cetera. Jefferson is one of many guys. Not unusual to look at other religions. That was a standard practice for most of the founders.

PAT: Did you say he obtained his copy in 1746. He would have been three years old?

DAVID: No. The Koran he obtained was a 1746 edition of the Koran.

PAT: When did he come by it?

DAVID: Gracious.

STU: Eleven years before he wrote the declaration.

PAT: Eleven years?

DAVID: And I think that's right. Because at that point in time, tensions with Great Britain are starting. But at that point in time, he's more of a student too. Remember, I mean, from his age at that point, he was more into his academic inquiries. And 1765, he had just become a member of the Virginia legislature. So he's a brand-new legislator. And Virginia is where you have a lot of Muslim slaves in the state. So that's where slavery is first introduced or reported to be first introduced --

GLENN: And these are the slaves just like we have ISIS enslaving Muslims now. These are the slaves that they said at the time, were not Muslim enough. Right?

Over in --

DAVID: Overseas, yeah.

GLENN: Yeah, overseas. The Muslims -- the ISIS of their day would have scooped these guys up and sold them to the slave traders because the Koran calls for that and says as long as they're not Muslim enough.

DAVID: That's right. They were apostate Muslims, so you can ship them off into slavery.

GLENN: So what's amazing is, the Muslims that would have been here would have been the Muslims that would have wanted to be the reformers.

DAVID: Yeah, that's right.

GLENN: They would have been the ones we would have liked.

DAVID: And you look at that point in time, Muslims took 1.25 million slaves in that point of time. We look at the Founding Fathers, in that three decades or so, 1.52 million slaves that were calmed by Muslims. This is a big part of what their faith was.

GLENN: Then the president is right then. They did -- they were important to the fabric of early America. They were the actual slave traders that sold the blacks into slavery to the Dutch trading companies?

DAVID: There you go. That and their terrorism. The jihadism against Americans overseas. Those are the two biggest contributions.

GLENN: That's amazing.

DAVID: The guys who raised camels. I have to give him credit. That has to be tough raising camels in the Arizona desert.

PAT: The rest of the cavalry laughed at him, so they stopped using them.

GLENN: Where did they get the camels?

DAVID: Watch the movie Hawmps! H-A-W-M-P-S. It was slim pickings. Done back with that thing with Jeff Davis. They got the word hawmps because the cavalry looked and said, those are just horses with hawmps. What are those? So that's what they used for several years. And the Indians laughed at them when they tried to chase them down with camels.

JEFFY: Yeah, the military wouldn't ride them anymore.

DAVID: Exactly. It was a short-lived experiment. I have to credit their technology. If you're going to be in the desert chasing folks, why not use the animals that will go for several days, rather than several hours. But they were just so slow, they couldn't keep up with the Indians.

GLENN: David, thank you very much for enlightening me on this. I think this is the headline: President Obama is correct. Muslims provided most of the slaves for America.

STU: Jeez.

DAVID: Yeah.

GLENN: Is that accurate, David?

DAVID: I can't say that's accurate, but I can say they supplied more than any other entity, but -- the Portuguese traders, the Spanish traders, there were a bunch of traders that went there. But the Muslims were the chief ones in Africa that were able to sell slaves and those who wanted to sell slaves.

GLENN: Okay. So it would be accurate to say, most African slaves or most slaves from Africa --

STU: A plurality of slaves.

DAVID: Has been obtained by Muslim enslavers. Spanish, Portuguese, or the Dutch, or whoever else, the greatest supplier of slaves would undoubtedly have been Muslims.

GLENN: Unbelievable. Thank you very much, David. That's -- that's a story. Blaze has to write that story.

STU: That's an amazing --

GLENN: That's a great story.

STU: I assume the president is talking about this argument from Salon, it's a book called Thomas Jefferson's Islam: Islam and the Founders. Listen. Even in this argument on Salon, a left-wing website, says this -- talking about how the founders of the time were talking about Muslims being tolerated and given rights like other religions --

GLENN: Of course. Every religion was.

STU: They did so not for the sake of actual Muslims because none were known at the time to be living in America. Instead, Jefferson and others defended Muslim rights for the sake of, quote, imagined Muslims, end quote. The promotion of whose theoretical citizenship would prove the true universality of American rights. Indeed, the defense of imagined Muslims would also create political room to consider the rights of other despised minorities whose numbers in America though small were quite real, namely Jews and Catholics.

4 signs that PROVE Americans are hitting rock bottom

Spencer Platt / Staff | Getty Images

As we approach the presidential election in November, many Americans are facing dire economic straits.

Glenn has shown time and time again that Bidenomics is a sham, and more Americans than ever are suffering as a result. Still, Biden and his cronies continue to insist that the economy is booming despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. But who is Biden fooling? Since the beginning of the year, gas has gone up an average of 40 cents a gallon nationwide, with some states seeing as much as a 60-cent per gallon increase. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are on the rise, evictions are surging, and America is experiencing a record amount of homelessness. We can't survive another Biden term.

Americans across the country are hitting rock bottom, and here are four stats that PROVE it:

Evictions

John Moore / Staff | Getty Images

Across the country, people are being evicted from their homes and apartments. Between 2021 and 2023, evictions increased by 78.6 percent. With inflation driving up prices and employers struggling to raise wages to compensate, rent is taking up an increasingly larger percentage of people's paychecks. Many Americans are having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

Foreclosures

Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Renters aren't the only ones struggling to make their monthly payments, foreclosures are on the rise. This February saw a 5 percent increase in foreclosures from last year and a 10 percent increase from January. More and more Americans are losing their homes and businesses.

Bankruptcies

Chris Hondros / Staff | Getty Images

High interest rates and inflation have driven bankruptcies through the roof. Total filings have risen 13 percent and business bankruptcies rose 30 percent in 2023. It's getting harder and harder for businesses to stay afloat, and with California's new law requiring most restaurants to pay all employees a minimum of $20 an hour, you can expect that number to keep climbing.

Homelessness

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor | Getty Images

The result of all of these issues is that it is getting harder and harder for Americans to afford the basic necessities. January of 2023 saw a record-breaking 650,000+ homeless Americans, a 12 percent jump from the previous year. More Americans have hit rock bottom than ever before.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I want to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. Life is tough, but it is worth it in the end.

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. They just won’t let go of their power even though their time has passed.

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

The generation coming of age is right to feel frustrated.This mess — with high costs and a massive debt burden — was not of their making.

Iwant to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. ≈

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. ≈

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed.

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

Once the government said that they were going to guarantee everybody’s college tuition, universities found out that they could just charge more because the government would give you virtually any amount in your loan. And they have been charging more and more ever since. In 1965, the average college tuition was $450 a year. Adjusted to inflation, that's $4,000 a year. You're currently paying an average of $26,000 a year as opposed to the inflation-adjusted $4,000.

What happened? The answer is always the same: government regulations. Gas is up. Why? Government regulations. Can't afford a house? Well, that's due to several things. Many of them revolve around the fed and our national debt. But the simple answer is the same: government regulations.

Moreover, the U.S. government has run a staggering national debt. We have been concerned about it forever, but the people in power haven't been listening to your mom and dad and people like me. A lot of other people just thought, "Oh, well. We could get away with it. We're the United States of America, after all. Somehow or another, it will all work out."

People like me have been saying, "No. We can't pass this on to our children." You're now seeing what we have passed on. When you say that the adults are responsible for creating this world of problems, in some ways, you’re right. We were lied to, and as many people do, they want to believe the lie because it makes them feel better.

There are big lies being pushed in your generation as well. You're being told that a man is a woman and a woman is a man. At the same time, you’re being told that gender doesn't even exist at all. It makes us feel better to go along with the lie because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

My generation believed the same kind of lie about our national debt. We were told that we could spend all this money on subsidized programs because it would provide you, our children, with a better life. Some people warned, "Wait, how will they pay this off? This will cost them." We didn't want to believe them. The lie sounded better, and it was easier to believe that than the truth. We never saw the consequences, and even if we did, they were always way out in the future. Nobody wanted to listen to the doomsday people saying, "No. It's going to come faster than you think."

And that time is right now. Our government now is printing $1 trillion every 100 days. That's never been done before. We have more debt than any country has ever had in the history of the world. But we’re not alone. Every country is doing this. They’re going into debt like we’ve never seen before, and we’re all about to pay for that. It’s going to make your life even harder.

There are Democrats and Republicans who still believe in spending all kinds of money and getting us involved in every global conflict. Then there are constitutional conservatives who believe that we should conserve the things that have worked and throw out the things that don’t and follow our Constitution and Bill of Rights. You haven't really learned about those most likely. But you should. All of our problems are caused by the government and the people who feel they can bypass the Constitution. That's what this election is really all about.

You might say, “I don’t really care. I don’t like either of the political parties.” I know a lot of people who don’t like either of them, but one is going to try to cut the size of this government and one is going to spend us into collapse.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed. You need to learn enough about the truth, about why this has happened to us, and about how our Constitution lasted longer than any other Constitution in the world. The average is 17 years. This thing has lasted hundreds of years. Why? How? And why is it falling apart today? That's what you should dedicate some of your time to figuring out today.

You can complain about the way things are. I complain. Everybody complains. But don't wallow there. Learn what caused this. And if you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework. They always end the same way, and that's exactly where we're headed right now. We can either repeat the dreadful past of nations that have tried it before us, or we can choose freedom, liberty, and prosperity. The ball is in our court.

Glenn recently had Representative Thomas Massie on his show to sound the alarm about an important yet often overlooked issue affecting what we eat. Whether you're trying to be prepared to weather a catastrophe or just trying to keep food on the table without resorting to eating bugs, it's more important now than ever to source local food. Unnoticed by most, our right to eat home-grown or locally-sourced foods is under attack. The government doesn't just want a say in what you eat; they want you vulnerable and dependent on their system, and they are massively overstepping their bounds to ensure your compliance with their goals.

How did the attack on your food begin?

Government overreach on food can be traced back to 1938 under the autocratic eye of FDR with the Supreme Court case "Wickard v. Filburn." The case was pretty straightforward, but the results were devastating. The case began with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which sought to control national food prices by placing limitations on how many crops farmers could grow in a season.

Filburn was one such farmer, who was allotted 11.1 acres of wheat to plant and harvest annually. Filburn planted and harvested 23 acres, arguing that the extra acres were not headed for the market, but were used for personal consumption. After being penalized for over-harvesting, he fought his case all the way up to the Supreme Court, arguing that Congress did not have the authority to regulate crops that never left his farm.

Unfortunately for Filburn (and the rest of us), the Supreme Court didn't agree. They ruled that the mere existence of that extra wheat—whether it left Filburn's farm or not—had an effect on the national value of wheat. Congress assumed the power to regulate just about anything that could be roped under the umbrella of "interstate commerce."

Under the precedent set by Wickard v. Filburn, Congress might bar you from growing tomatoes in your backyard, because it could affect national tomato prices. This was a major blow to our right to feed ourselves, and that right has been eroding ever since.

How is our right to feed ourselves under attack today?

Last June, the Virginia Department of Agriculture shut down Golden Valley Farms, a small Amish farm owned and operated by Samuel B. Fisher in Farmville, Virginia. Golden Valley Farms had started out selling dairy products, primarily, and processed some meat for personal consumption. However, by popular demand, Fisher began selling meat.

Fisher initially hauled his animals to a USDA processing plant, paid to have them processed, and then hauled them back. This process was time-consuming and costly, and Fisher's customers didn't want the meat processed by the plant. A survey done on Golden Valley Farms customers found that an overwhelming 92 percent preferred meat processed by Fisher. So naturally, Fisher began to process more and more meat for his customers.

Moreover, COVID shut down the USDA plant, which made it impossible for Fisher to process the animals by the USDA anyway, though the demand for meat was greater than ever. Fisher made the call to process 100 percent of his animals himself and didn't look back. That was until June when the Virginia Department of Agriculture caught wind of Fisher's operation and shut it down. The VDA seized all of Fisher's products, and he wasn't allowed to process, sell, or even eat his meat. Then they loaded it up in a truck and left it at the dump to rot.

Nobody ever got sick from eating meat from Golden Valley Farms. This was NOT about "health and safety." This was about control. The fact is that informed adults were not allowed to make a simple transaction without the government sticking its slimy fingers into Fisher's business and claiming it was somehow for "our benefit." But it's not for "our benefit." It's so they can regulate and control what we buy and what we eat, and they cannot stand it when we operate outside of their influence.

What comes next?

Where does this end? With so much of our ability to feed ourselves already eroded, is it too late? Is it going to get worse? Before long, will it be illegal to eat eggs from your chickens or pick vegetables from your garden without getting government clearance first? Fortunately, a solution is already in the works.

Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie recently told Glenn about a new constitutional amendment designed to limit government overreach regarding food production. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

And Congress shall make no law, regulating the production and distribution of food products, which do not move across state lines.

The amendment is still on the drawing board and has not been formally introduced to Congress yet. But this is where you come in. Call your representative and tell them to support Massie's amendment and take a stand for your right to provide sustenance for you and your family.

If we can build skyscrapers, we can rebuild bridges

Kevin Dietsch / Staff | Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I am sick and tired of hearing about our limitations. The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge this week is an amazing hero story of the cops and first responders who saved an untold number of lives by doing exactly the right thing quickly. But I’m really tired of hearing about how long it’s going to take us to recover from this catastrophe and how bad it’s going to be.


The immediate impact for Americans regarding this bridge collapse seems dire. If you're waiting for a new car to come in from overseas, prepare to wait longer. The Port of Baltimore stands as the nation’s leading import-export site for cars and trucks. It’s also the leading nexus for sugar and gypsum, which is used in fertilizer, drywall, and plaster. A record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo was transported through Baltimore just last year.

To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

The bustling port is now cut off after the 1.6-mile-long bridge crumbled and fell into the river early Tuesday, blocking the only shipping lane into the port.

The officials have said the timeline for rebuilding the bridge will be years. The Port of Baltimore creates more than 15,300 jobs, with another 140,000 jobs linked to the activity at the port. This is a major disaster and will continue to cause significant problems on the East Coast for U.S. importers and exporters.

The bridge collapse means it will not be possible to get to the container terminals or a range of the other port terminals in Baltimore. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters on Tuesday that vessel traffic in the port would be suspended until further notice but noted the port is still open to trucks.

Michael Mezzacappa, an attorney and expert on property damage cases in the shipping industry, told the New York Post that the collapse will have a major impact on shipping and traffic routes in the East Coast for the foreseeable future. “It’s not going to get fixed any time soon,” Mezzacappa said. “It’s going to take a lot longer than anyone expects. This is going to be a major problem for the Northeast.”

Remember the American spirit

I am absolutely sick to death of all of these stories that say things like that. Have we forgotten who we are? Have we forgotten what we’ve done?

Let me remind you of the American spirit, a spirit so potent and so vibrant that it has scaled towering mountains, mountains nobody thought they could cross.

It’s the spirit that constructed marvels of engineering. Have you ever been to the Hoover Dam? Have you seen the New York City skyline? The skyscraper was invented here for a reason. Here we are on the threshold of tomorrow, and none of us knows what is going to happen. But I'm getting the impression that we’ve been so beaten down that we believe we’re not going to make it tomorrow.

Have we forgotten who our ancestors are and what they did? If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer. You will see a people who can do anything.


I want to stop just briefly in 1930. The Great Depression had its icy grip on us. It was a time that felt like a flickering candle in the vast darkness just barely holding on. Yet, it was in this crucible of adversity that Americans did great things.

The Empire State Building rose. It wasn’t just a structure of steel and stone. It was a beacon, a beacon of hope and American resilience and ingenuity. The way that thing was built — no one has ever seen anything like it before and since. In a record-shattering one year and 45 days, an army of workers, as many as 3,400 men on certain days, transformed this audacious vision into a cowering reality.

If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer.

The Empire State Building wasn’t constructed. It was conjured into existence with a symphony of clanging metal and roaring machines and the inexhaustible spirit of its builders. The men perched on steel girders that were being flown in by giant cranes whispered tales about how they could still feel the warmth of the freshly poured metal beneath them. That beam was still warm, even though it was poured in Pittsburgh, put on a train, then put on a boat, then on a truck, then hauled up into the air.

They could fill the warmth because we moved that fast. It was a feverish pace of construction. It seemed to defy the laws of time and physics.

For a long time, it was the tallest building in the world — an architectural achievement. It was also a declaration to the world that America was a land where the impossible became possible, that we are a people of determination, innovation, with a relentless will to succeed.

These aren't merely historical footnotes. They are blazing torches illuminating our path forward. They remind us that when we're faced with adversity, we don't just endure it. We overcome it. We don’t wait for history to chart our course. We write it with the sweat of our brow and the strength of our backs. That’s who we are. Have we forgotten that?

What are we waiting for?

We find ourselves at another crossroads faced with the challenges that threaten to dim the bright future that we all dream for our nation, for our children. The spirit that built the Empire State Building, laid down miles of railroads, cut through the Rocky Mountains, and sent astronauts to the moon is still inside of every heart of every American, somewhere.

Awaken that spirit. Scale new mountains. It's not just rock and earth. Scale the mountains of innovation. Build. Not just physical structures but a future that upholds the spirit of adventure, hard work, and ingenuity. Stop tearing everything down. Let's start building.

Why are we waiting? If this isn't a national emergency, I don't know what it is.

And I don't just mean the bridge. I mean all of it. You might say, “Well, our government has to lead.” Really? Does it? Maybe that’s our problem. America is led by its values and principles that are found in the souls of those who still remember who we are and who we serve. Americans lead the way. The government always follows.

You might say again, "Well, we can’t act without the government." Nonsense! Where are the bridge builders who will stand up today and say, “I'll get it done!” As soon as that happens, you’ll see who is leading and who is stalling. The government is the one that stalls the engine out. To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

There is nothing we can't achieve when we all stand together, united by our dreams, and driven by the will to see them fulfilled. Don't listen to anybody else who tells you differently.